T1: MMT: Pt 3 Research cont.d

The exciting result of sharing my learning on the blog and on the forum is that my eyes suddenly get extended to others’ eyes across the globe.

A big thank you to Inger and Jennifer who scouted out 2 inspiring artists that I most certainly have appreciated looking at and would never have known about otherwise.

Firstly, looking at the work of Claude Heath, particularly his drawings and notably his landscape drawings that utilise acrylic on a transparent ground. I also was intrigued by his graphic work ‘Waterfalls’ which is supported by a video here. I like that he studied philosophy before he turned his mind to creating art. He plays with the perception of 2-D and 3-D. I am fascinated by his discussion on this work and how his work is created to hope to understand water better – that he is attracted to something that as he describes, cannot be completely comprehended. Perhaps what I am searching for is a grasp at something else that cannot be comprehended: our inner language. ‘You can always use drawing to extend other question for other people in other realms.’ His blindfold drawings speak to me on a textural level and a familiar level. They are like the big brother of where my sketches are growing. He discusses 3d technology as a freeing restraint. And I am smitten by his use of the term ‘enquiry’. We talk the same language here. I feel less lonely in my thinking.

Which takes me on to my next soul-partner in creativity. I have always felt that ideas can be pulled out of ourselves, pulled through, but they are pulled through us as from another place. The picture I have in my head is pulling strings from us, the thread of an idea, it can pull from your heart or your mind or your belly, put it pulls and catches like a fishing line or net, as it passes through us it picks up the catch – slivers of sliver fish ideas, lumps of tangled seaweed memories, snapping claws of unhealed hurts, yet you keep pulling. it is not pulled out from us but pulled through use. Those threads originate outside of ourselves. Many of us at the same time can grasp these threads or be grasped by these threads) and pull them into being through ourselves, through our internal translation, and yet on the other side of the country someone can be pulling through similar concepts and questions and enquiries that reverberate since they are from the same part of the same source, but materialise with slight differences due to the individual they pass through. This is one of the reasons I am curious as to what you get to if you keep looking further and further into ideas for their source, their original language. Steven G Bonfield and I must have been pulling from the same sea or inspiration. Not only is his work a fusion of text and form, but he has created works that CAN BE TOUCHED. How long have I ranted about this?! My concern for playgrounds, art that can be handled and climbed over and through and INTERACTED with – other than on a visual, cerebral level.

Jennifer sent me some photos from his exhibition ‘The Language Landscape’ that she visited here. In the supporting text she mailed me it states how  he ‘makes interactive paintings and sculptures filled with or covered by writing….whose physical characteristics are indivisible from the poem.’ His Artist’s Statement calls to me like one of my pack:

‘I sometimes feel that I am primarily constructed out of language. The skins and bone and gristle of me is real but not as real (or as me) as the words that I speak and think with. My work is an attempt to get inside this world of language. To explore language materially and as a web of subjective connections. I’m not so interested in sharing my thoughts on language or aesthetics. I’m attempting to share my experience of them.’

With this statement he becomes another piece of the jigsaw of me, some bits fitting flush others sticking out where I stick in and not all edges touching, but definitely the next piece.

Now to hunt him down!!




Sketching Pt3

Brain-melting thinking day.

I have been up since 3.30am. I apologise for typos and incoherence. I am writing because my brain has gone into overdrive and I’m hoping a spill on the page will let me switch off.

Thinking today has evolved from considering ‘personal voice’ that I have come to a conclusion equates to setting up my own artistic enquiry, following what arises, documenting it, refining it and sharing my discoveries – learning processes and concepts along the way that facilitate this.

Then my brain whizzed off again considering the notion of artistic intention in the light of Michaux’ work and neurophenomenology which brings me to a current question as to the phenomena of drawing itself. If ‘art’ or creating is part of the blueprint of our mind, our mind’s very mechanics, it is through un/sub and consciousness that it is translated before delivery to the world. If this is the case drawing is thereby an embodiment of my temporal perceptual experience brought to the plane (currently experimenting with both 2 and 3-d). It is my current experience of the world acted upon by memory, perception, consciousness let alone gesture, bodily engagement, and movement. Which kind of stymies the concern for skill. It does open me up to experimenting further with exploring drawing as a language by which I can communicate what is going on in my brain when I ‘see’ or ‘feel’ my world. This thinking reintegrates drawing and sketching as part of me, rather than an external activity. In the process of rebuilding me, by trying to recreate my internal language on the page I witness not a fragmented self, but a whole being.

Quick sketch of sample on phone app to tune myself in without fear of wasting paper.

From phone app to paper picking up the main lines where the plaster cast catches my attention.


Back to the music: listening and painting that language. A3 & watercolour. My middle daughter thinks this looks like Hebrew. It obviously says ‘language’ to her.


On the horizontal plane. Another track – other marks. I was considering running a craft knife around the ‘letters’ and raising them to see the effect. I didn’t trust myself with dangerous implements today. Need more sleep first!


Exploring using layers of sketch with an initial biro recount of the movement in my brain, then a watercolour layer of how the music feels in my body.

I felt bereft of colour so pulled out the oil pastels. This is only cheap watercolour paper and the surface was not very conversant with this medium. So I pushed on an added a final layer of watercolour wash. I like the effect where is has pooled in the lowered dents.

Next explore was to refine the line and be sparing – to say less, but hopefully convey more!


This time I introduced coloured inks as I wanted their permanency and stain quality.

But I still missed the 3D. Onwards again:

This time adding silver thread, cream cotton thread and pink 3d pen layer. Still wants to be more 3d. It is calling to be picked off the page and reveal itself like a tornado or spindle of whizzing electrical sparks and sketch. It needs animating. It needs to move. It needs to be off the page.


The sketches in series. They become more energetic as they go along, the top being the first, the bottom the last. The addition of colour and the reduction of marks is something with which I am pleased. Yet it still needs to be off that page.

It’s like looking at energy roadkill at the moment.

Rounding up Project 2

So where am I now? I think I’ve come to a stop with sample making for Part 3. The final sample – the frozen water bottle with 3d pen has been completed. The 3d pen survives freezing without any visible changes and when the ice melts it appears unaltered. The big difference is the freezing process does not cause the writing to float to the surface it remains in the centre of the bottle:

Here the survivors of Project 1 and 2 are assembled:


I’d like to spend a little longer developing threads that are hanging loose so they have a bit of strength in them should I like to revisit them in a later part or module.

Today I selected which pieces I will post to my tutor and also refined my selection for The Chosen Pieces for this part. But, I’ll detail these in a later post. For now, samples that still hold potential and further exploration:

Samples that speak of Part 3 for me. It doesn’t seem very much but as I said I’ll explain my thinking and choices in a separate post. I needed to take the sorting mood while it had me (it doesn’t happen very often). Sadly, the sample on the left is now in a few pieces…so I’ve saved it into my sketchbook (little mishap with washing line and not looking where I was going).

For tonight, I’ve been pondering on Judy’s sharp eyed comment on my last post, ‘A trace of a gesture is not a mark? It seems important to you to make a distinction.’ I’ve been thinking about this all day. Yes, I suppose it is important to me. If this is so I ought to be able to qualify and reason this.

I did some making to help me get to a clearer answer. First, converting music to a long piece of unwritten writing – a whole room long. Then it demanded I paint the undertone with a small brush and orange/red paint. This was the hidden message, the underneath and semi-concealed thinking that goes on just below the surface. The black was with a large household brush and black poster paint and it marked the music as it moves inside me. The effect is somewhat calligraphic and incredibly uniform and organised. there are even some identical moves and ‘letters’. As I painted I was thinking how it felt inside and shut my eyes moving along the paper, opening my eyes every few seconds to top up the brush with paint. I kept my eyes open for the red writing. Even though I painted it flat on the ground, from left to right, it demands looking at vertically. Interesting.


I played with shadow drawing of some of the 3d pen sketches.

For me mark-making is leaving a pigmented surface behind – the change being predominantly coloured (including monochrome in this assertion). The painted marks above were gestures – bodily, muscular – but they were not traces – the shadow sketches are traces of the 3d pen work. Although there is a clear design and line, the trace is something other than mark. It is an impression -the cast: thinking wormcasts, cast shadows, a channel in a surface that is left from the passage of something other- a trace of a smile, a tracing (an impression, copy, echo) trace fossils – the original traced can be absent. Whereas a gesture is the body’s movement and this can be secured with a mark – this is the boundary where body meets surface and leaves a stain/pigment/colour. A tool can be part of this translation – here the paintbrush was the tool to translate the gesture representing the inner movement of music in my body. So a trace of a gesture would be the impression left behind, not the mark remaining on the surface. To put this another way, if someone constantly raises their arms threatening to hit, the trace of that gesture is left as fear and flinching. When the hit lands on the body it leaves a mark. That’s a marked gesture. Hurt is mark of a gesture. Harm is the trace.

Henri Michaux was aiming to create the pre-gesture – mapping the very mechanism of the mind on the page. I’m exploring writing the language of my mind. Soul-writing. If you get to the very heart of this inner language where there is an archetypal mind, there must be archetypal marks and traces! I wonder what the archetypal language looks like when it’s recorded?

And note to self: message in a bottle – make one and see what happens. I’ve decided that a suprasemic message needs to go on a journey from here in a bottle. My only wrangling is the bottle – plastic will float – but I don’t want to put any more plastic in the ocean?!

Update 18.5.16 We had a reflection shared at work today that was all about healing and curing. That’s interesting in the light of my differentiating between hurt and harm, trace and mark. I wonder if it is a workable investigation to develop these apparent pairings?

T1: MMT; pt3 Pj2 vi

Altering earlier samples that gave little visual appeal.

Thanks to anh515848 for the suggestion to cut into the resin samples. It has been done. Cut then polished.

If you can just make out the line that forms the trace where the paper has been cut…it’s this that excites me the most. I’ll try and sketch that line to make it more clear:

And this offers far more visual impact.

Curious how these seem hollow  process pieces now that I’m on the scent of the pre-gestural, the internal writing. Curious what writing these encasulated forms trace on their cut faces.

T1: MMT: Pt3: Pj2 v – additional samples

Considering the internal shape of myself and the internal shape of the writing I wanted to create a sample that contrasted 3d writing with 3d suprasemic writing to compare the effect. Having had my nurturing wander by the beach I noticed traces of ‘script on all sorts of forms’ this is the handwriting of the sea on these materials. The bone fragment being both the writing of the sea (the gesture of the seas) and the writing of genes. All these marks can be a form of gesture – not mark-making. The gesture: the movement of the sea, of time, of the weather on these surfaces – not a painter’s stroke. The traces are rather the gesture of Nature itself – simply the sea expressing itself upon the surface – the unconscious, movement:

Rowell 1972: ‘The stroke is a technique of communication, the gesture is a dialogue within the self.’

I sense already there will be a natural transition into the next part of MMT: printing – since many of these thoughts and images lend themselves to be explored in this way too.

But for now I’m enjoying freeing the writing from the page and from the confines of word-sense. For the moment writing is free to be soulsense.

Handwriting to handwritten.

Lifting them off the page.


One to be frozen – water as a resin substitute, ice as a message. (Thanks Kate for the suggestion- looking forward to result).

The other- hung out to dry on the plaster cast sample of a carrier bag wrung out and stretched against its purpose.

I can say it no better than sharing (again I suspect) one of my favourite poems by one of my favourite poets Thomas Transtromer:

‘Weary of all who come with words, words but no language

I make my way to the anow-covered island.

The untamed has no words.

The unwritten pages spread out on every side!

I come upon the tracks of deer in the snow.

Language but no words.’


Discovered Miriam Londono on a Web hunt and inspired by her paper writing books I had a go at 3d written book pages. I had to interlink the writing somewhat in order to give the pages structure and it was tricky to photograph to show pages.  But my results so far cast the inner surface of a written page without the paper ground.



T1: MMT: Pt 3: Pj 2 iv

This is going to be a very hard post to type. Somewhere between here and my previous sample I have made an exponential leap in purpose and context. I cannot work out how to reasonably summarise what has happened?!

I suspect the most effective way would be to create a visual timeline.

When I started my textiles course with OCA, my introductory assignment feedback pinpointed an emerging use of text in my work and my tutor encouraged me with: ‘it may be worth delving deeper into the combination of text in your work. This is a significant element for this submission and I would like to see it develop.’

When I struggled with collage in a later submission it was my own handwriting that I resorted to create my monochromatic paper in a somewhat subversive tone. My tutor’s feedback commented:’The collage takes off when you move into the stitched work. As mentioned earlier the colour is not so personal in the initial collage work – don’t be afraidto paint over and change the colour of your found materials. The black and white ‘doing my head in’ piece is the strongest because the composition is not interrupted by the recognition of stuck down paper – it takes on an unfamiliar texture and the writing relates to, and enhances, the stitch.’

There’s the first ghost of a whisper: ‘it takes on an unfamiliar texture’

The writing effects the paper and the stitch and is in turn effected by these, but now we’re talking WRITING not ‘text’.

Then creating yarns inspired by collage I wondered how you could make a secret capsule yarn, that would keep a written secret safe and hidden within a central core. this developed out of my idea of an interactive yarn which you could move to respond ‘yes/no’ in a window. The hidden core yarn emerged, safeguarding a handwritten message within its very heart. This time my feedback recognises:‘Here you really begin to compose with your techniques. The drawing and the making merge. Your use of text also brings meaning and concept more clearly into focus. These pieces almost make the stitch look like handwriting –as if looking at a foreign language… A very strong collection of samples.’ Now the ghost of a whisper is a clear call: ‘text brings meaning and concept…stitch look like handwriting – as if looking at a foreign language’ Now text and writing are attached to meaning communication beyond the graphical – there’s a barrier between comprehension – here emerging as something awaiting translation.

In the first part of MMT, my tutor noted in her feedback: The   printed  pages  once  folded,  conjured  up,  a  sense,  that  the  text  had  been  reduced  into   a  code.’ Here, in an apparently unconnected exercsie the text and writing theme emerges again. In part 2 it has eveolved further with the emerging interest of the boundary between things concelaed/revealed. With the support of my tutor I was able to navigate a trickly brick wall with wrapping and came through to develop work that invites a response from the audience, as tutor feedback for this part explains: ‘this opens the narrative of the hurtful words perhaps being transformed or transported.’ Now transformation enters the picture, noting further that with one specimen I can ‘reveal or conceal as much information as desired – the position of the viewer is in your hands’ – communication and meaning now become integrated with composition and expression.

This all sifted back down into my subconscious until this project and it has emerged with quite a punch. Combining ideas of expressive line emerging in my drawing, aiming for something beyond abstract expressionism, bringing that internal vocabulary, that internal language to life and the current project of casting the inner surface of a vessel I have stumbled upon something very exciting and inspiring. Something I really want to investigate and importantly now I know why!

In order to push the boundaries of a creative field or domain the rules/skills of that particular domain or field have to be fully known and integrated in order to be subsumed and innovated upon. The only thing I feel fully competent in is handwriting. My personal handwriting developed when I was 14. I finished an exam with an hour to spare and knowing there was nothing to do, nothing to correct and I wouldn’t be allowed to leave the exam hall with anything I decided to use the extra paper you could have to redesign my handwriting. I may not have been able to leave with anything physical, but I left with my own script designed by me, breaking various rules of what you should and shouldn’t do whilst maintaining the requirements of legibility and fluidity. I think it was my first ‘really me’ expression in paper. It has nothing to do with calligraphy or cursive script rules or copperplate, it just made me feel good to write it and look back at it. It did take a few years to settle into a mature style, but that was the beginning.

I loved writing. I love words. I wrote poetry. Very self-conscious and teen-angst driven until I discovered the word, of etymology and then words themselves became whole narratives – lives captured in a sound, I was hooked as to how words acquire their meaning, how this meaning can be corrupted and destroyed or made fixed and sacred. Later the world of semiotics opened for me with a unit of learning on linguistics. But rather than pursue something wich actually awakened my curiosity, something new and invigorating I left it alone and pursued the study of poetry: from the first poetry in Old English, through the works of Middle English poets up to the Surrealists. Words were pouring into me and pouring out of me. Words that transformed in front of my eyes, words that became shape and form: not just sound and voice. Words became free of the page. I believe one of the things that stopped me going completely crazy and losing all hope during the dark days was the amount of poetry I knew off-by-heart in my head. I could tap into the mystical, the spiritual, the profane, the humourous without letting on a blink. I could escape with the slave poets, I could fly above it all with the ancient makeres. I could be afraid of Grendel instead of the reality in front of me. All this internal language, all this inner wealth. I could philosophise with Hopkins and Stevie Smith. Ezra Pound and Walt Whitman could get me to wake up and see through the moment to the living beyond.

How impossible it is for me to believe that I silenced myself for so long. That the fight had been frightened out of me. I put nothing on paper. I said nothing. Out of fear I trapped all those words.

And now they’re spilling out.

All these messages in a bottle that I keep missing until someone else points it out. I can’t  quite track how I leapt from realising I was trying to make my writing do something other than just be writing: may be it was the 3d pen experiments? May be it was what happened in the resin? May be it was all those years ago when as a teenage I wanted my writing to do much much more than just transcribe?

I looked back at Henri Michaux. I feel a real understanding of where he was in his head and what he was trying to do by exploring the trance states and trying to transcribe his experience. The research I did yesterday, hinted at in my last post has been a true epiphany. Here were other artists trying to making writing do something else. Make writing not writing. Then I discovered the term asemic and all these pieces of life that I’d thrown up in the air at various points in the living started falling to the ground and showing me what I was looking at but had never seen: the semantics, the handwriting, the poetry, the philosophy, the feeling of things that shouldn’t be felt, the seeing of things that should be heard, the hearing of things that should be seen…the impact of music on my internal space, the aim to see myself as the vessel in this project and what my inner surface might look like. It is all part of one picture. All pages of the map that I have been missing.

I cannot talk of all that has made me into who I am today. I am wiser, stronger, more tender, more aware of my inner resources. Communication was stolen from me and yet I survived. No-one heard me when I did speak up. My words meant nothing. My words became simultaneously my life-preserver and my greatest enemy.

Asemic writing has now got me in its grip. Yet Michaux, I thank you for your lifeline, sent out at the hands of Joachim Koester. It was timely. Now I pick up the baton and I’m running, it’s hard to keep up with myself.

What if writing could carry more meaning than the words themselves. What if it became for me both noun and verb? What if writing were a map of my inner meaning and inner surface dictated through gesture? What if this writing spoke with its own voice and that voice could be heard differently and directly by each person? What of this suprasemic writing? Where next?